Kashevaroff Mountain Hike
The Kodiak Audubon Society hosts a series of hikes beginning in late March and running through the end of September. We picked up a schedule of the hikes at the ranger station at Fort Abercrombie campground. On Saturday morning we joined a group of 16 people down at the ferry dock for the hike scheduled for that day. The hike would be an ascent up Kashevaroff Mountain. The Audubon Society only charges $2 per person and $2 per dog to go on the hike. We figured one could not beat the price for having a guide show us the lay of the land. Beverly Ferris lead the hike, but we were quickly left in the dust as the sprightly Ferris quickly put it into high gear and was far ahead of us for most of the trip.
The trail begins 6.6 miles beyond Buskin River Bridge on the Chiniak Highway. There is enough parking on the left (bay) side of the road for only about seven cars and trucks. Cross the road and walk back toward town about 50 feet. The trail is an ATV route, so it is easy to follow. However, you are sharing the experience with ATV traffic, so make sure you listen closely and step off the trail as they go flying by. We only saw three during the four hours we spent hiking. Follow the ATV trail up about two miles. It is a steep trek, but not so steep that ATVs canít make the climb. No scrambling was necessary. At a couple of different points the trail goes through bog, but hikers can walk into the grass and avoid swampy areas. Still, we recommend water resistant hiking boots. While the rest of the pack charged up the mountain, Claimjumper and I took our time and hiked with Beverly and Fred from Virginia Beach, along with their grandson Ben, a local in Kodiak. Ben and I had fun communicating with one another via our radios, and several kids at the nearby coast guard station joined in the conversation.
About two thirds to three quarters of the way up the ATV tracks end. By this time one can see the top. However, first make your way up a saddle between two snow filled gullies (there was snow still there in late June, but this may be all gone by end of July). Drop down the gully to the right to find a good place to cross the stream. There were some blue strips of plastic tied to tree limbs marking the easiest crossing. Once you are across you can pretty much pick your own way to the summit. I went strait up to the ridge and then walked along it to the left (SSW) and found the group at the peak. There is a nice wide area at the top for a picnic and rumor has it hikers can enjoy views of many of the surrounding snow covered peaks. Clouds covered the summit by the time I reached the top, so the group decided that the purpose of the trip was more the company than the views for that particular day. It took about two hours to reach the top with an elevation gain of approximately 2,000 feet. The hike was not difficult or dangerous, but it was a long steady climb. The trail stretches about six miles round-trip.
Coming back down it could be difficult to find the beginning of the ATV trail unless you have marked the spot with a GPS reading or you are good at retracing your steps. I just followed Harvey and Dale, who were visiting from Minnesota. We had caught up with these two fellow adventures and their wives on road trips around the island the previous day. Now I just used them to get where I needed to be. Are they natural trackers, or did they just follow somebody else?
There are no facilities at the trailhead, nor along the trail. There is also no cost to use the trail. Bring water and a picnic for the top!
Last visited June 2002